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Bruins G Thomas declines White House invite

Though the rest of his teammates and other champion Boston Bruins attended a reception in their honor by President Barack Obama on Monday, goaltender Tim Thomas declined.

"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government," Thomas said in a statement.

"Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL. This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic."

Thomas, 37, is a native of Flint, Michigan and attended the University of Vermont. He is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy recipient, leading Boston to its first title since 1972 by going 16-9 with a 1.98 goals-against average and four shutouts last postseason.

"As an organization we were honored by President Obama's invitation to the White House. It was a great day and a perfect way to cap our team's achievement from last season," said Bruins president Cam Neely in a statement issued through the team's website.

"It was a day that none of us will soon forget. We are disappointed that Tim chose not to join us, and his views certainly do not reflect those of the Jacobs family or the Bruins organization. This will be the last public comment from the Bruins organization on this subject."

Neely was a part of Boston's previous two trips to the Finals, losses to the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and 1990.

Though a rare occurrence, there is precedent for a Washington snub. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison declined to appear at his club's White House reception following Super Bowl victories in both 2006 and 2009.